Hurricane Patricia: Threatening Catastrophe And Breaking Records


The storm has grown, without much warning, from a meager tropical storm to the strongest, most powerful category 5 hurricane on record in the Western Hemisphere. The Weather Channel is forecasting that Hurricane Patricia has the lowest-ever-recorded barometric pressure of a Pacific hurricane in the history of storm reporting, that she’s expected to make landfall tonight, and that coastal resort cities are directly in Hurricane Patricia’s cross-hairs.

Hurricane Patricia is now a behemoth category 5 storm. Her sustained winds are 200 MPH. Patricia also has the distinction of having one of the lowest-ever-recorded pressures of a Pacific hurricane. Patricia was recorded at 879 millibars by midday Friday, just before she was expected to lumber landward

So, where will she hit? Hurricane Patricia is expected to make landfall near Manzanillo in Mexico’s Jalisco state. Guadalajara, Mexico’s second most populous city, is directly in the cross-hairs as Patricia moves inland across Mexico and up into Texas and the remainder of the Gulf coast. The actual damage the historic Patricia may cause is anyone’s guess.

So what’s the best advice for those in the path of the historic Hurricane Patricia? It depends on your situation.

It’s been reported by CNN that Hurricane Patricia is going to cause some serious rainfall in coming days, from 8-20 inches in some places. Combine that moisture with 200 MPH sustained winds when the storm makes landfall, storm surges of up to 40 feet and rip currents, and you have a recipe for disaster. Most people who are in the direct path of the storm are recommended to hunker down at this point, with landfall expected to come within hours. Some, without dependable shelter, have been relocated to state-sponsored shelters in their vicinity.

Much of the population still in the path of Hurricane Patricia are tourists. Those tourists, many of whom have shelter, have been advised to shelter in place. If they’re in resort hotels, they should have access to water and other supplies.

The tropical storm most comparable to Hurricane Patricia in strength is 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan, which impacted the Philippines. That storm, unprecedented when it occurred, killed more than 6000 people. The majority of the deaths related to Haiyan had to do with that storm’s surge.

When Mexican authorities were told of the impending threat and ferocity of Hurricane Patricia, they took a plethora of measures to try to mitigate the damages. Over 1700 shelters were set up to give residents in the way a place to go. Flights in and out of the region have been cancelled and grounded. The cities of Colima, Jalisco, and Nayarit (perhaps among others) had their electricity services disconnected at 2 p.m. EST, as a precautionary measure.

So what’s next? No one really knows. As of this writing, Hurricane Patricia is making landfall. Many of the millions (U.S tourists included) in the path of the historic Hurricane Patricia are still in limbo.

Following the Mexican landfall of Hurricane Patricia, millions (including many U.S. tourists) in Mexico will be dealing with days of suspended access to services. Some may have their travel disrupted, while others may lose access to vital services. It really all depends on the true path and wrath of Hurricane Patricia, which won’t be fully know until the storm passes.

Regardless of what happens, Hurricane Patricia is already compared to such monster storms as Katrina, Wilma, and Andrew.

Regardless of what statistics are played out in the coming days, we should all take a second to send some good vibes. Those in the path of Hurricane Patricia will definitely need them.

[Image Courtesy of Handout/Getty Image]